create a great barbecue and outdoor eating area that will raise the value of your house!
**updated with new pictures on the last step**
Step 1: Cautions
this project assumes that you have some basic knowledge of laying bricks and basic carpentry skills. this is not a small weekend project, and will eat your weekends for several months. this is the cheapest way to get a built in barbecue, by building it yourself, but is still a significant investment. that said, it will add more than its cost to the value of your house. i know this because our house was recently appraised and the barbecue was added in and had a significant value. many parts of the project are left up to the builder since it can be modified in endless ways, but if you want to know exact measurements i will post them. feel free to deviate from this plan, it is not the only way to build a barbecue (or the best probably) but i think the end product turned out great. this instructable is still in progress, so more may be added as time goes on. different materials may be used. if i have left anything out please let me know. please dont earn yourself a darwin award while attempting this.
Step 2: Lay the Foundation
dig and level the patch of ground that the barbecue will sit on. before pouring the concrete make sure that all your water, power and gas lines are laid, because it will be hard to get them in there after it is poured. run all connections through the foundation and cap them. ours was 3'x11'. create a form to pour the concrete in from 2x4's. mix concrete according to the directions on the package. pour into the mold. level and smooth the concrete with another 2x4. it would be easiest to rent/borrow a cement mixer because we will be mixing a lot of them.
Step 3: Lay First Course of Cinder Blocks
first thing to do is to use some cement epoxy to embed the rebar securely into the concrete foundation. drill the hole and epoxy it in. next, create a dry well for the drain water to go. if you can just connect the drain for the sink to a house drain pipe, this isnt necessary. dig a deep hole that is a bit larger than the barrel that you have. our barrel was gotten for free from a friend who works at a coca cola plant, and once had sprite syrup in it. drill many holes into the barrel, and put the drain pipes through the lid. the bottom of the barrel isnt necessary. put the barrel into the hole and fill around it with course gravel. mix up the mortar/mud and lay the first layer of bricks. they should be as close to perfectly level as possible. fill around the drain pipes with cement. the barrel and drain pipes will be buried, since the area behind the barbecue will be backfilled with dirt.
Step 4: Lay the Next Courses of Blocks-
lay the next few couses of blocks, leaving an opening for doors in the front. lay them according to the pictures below, use a brace to hold up that middle brick above the door.
Step 5: Create Concrete Countertop Forms
create a form to pour the lower countertop surface. before pouring get your electrical and water lines to where they need to go, and make sure everything is good BEFORE pouring the concrete. make sure the forms are well braced, and won't bow with the concrete's weight. also make sure to take counter overhang into account. try to get air bubbles and pockets out, but it isn't terribly important because it will be covered with tile later. make sure to use plenty of rebar. extra rebar sticking out of the blocks can just be bent over to be cemented into the countertop.
Step 6: Create Brace Forms and Upper Countertop Form
create a form for the upper countertop. because it overhangs the barbecue by a few feet, it is a good idea to brace it. this may be slight overkill, but better safe than ssorry. create brace forms out of wood, we made 3. attach them to the side of the barbecue and pour them first. make sure to add rebar to them before they dry. these braces will stick up through the bottom of the countertop form. create that form from wood . ours overhangs by about a foot. make sure this is very well supported and contains rebar.
Step 7: Pour Upper Countertop
mix concrete and pour into the mold. make sure it is thoroughly set for a few days before even attempting to remove the form. i wasnt around when this part was done, so i dont have pics. this pic is a few days after. make sure it is completely level. air bubbles dont matter that much because it will be tiled. after it has been poured, drill and epoxy some thick threaded rod to anchor the uprights for the cover.
Step 8: Stucco
mix up the stucco mix and add whatever color you like. trowel it onto the outside of the blocks. dont put it on the countertop. go and select what tile you will use.
Step 9: Tile
select what tile you will use and get a tile cutter. mix up the tile glue. trowel on the glue and apply tile to countertops and short backsplash area between the upper and lower counters in the front. we applied the edge tiles first, then put in the tiles around the perimeter on the top. then we laid the centrer tiles diagonally. once that is all laid install the sink and side burner. create trim around it from steel if desired. test fit you barbecue.
Step 10: Create Doors
use whatever wood is available to you for doors. we used some wood that we got for free from a pallete for the doors to get that slightly rustic roughsawn look. we used some antique looking hinges and handles to further this effect.
Step 11: Create Cover/roof
we decided to go with a more open style roof. you will need 4x4's for the uprights, 2x6's for the sides, and 2x2's for the slats. stain the wood to match trhe rest of the barbecue. use a template to get the end cut right. run all electrical up to a box on the post. use wet location switches and outlets. paint the pipe to match the stain of the wood. cover the base of the uprights where they are bolted down with trim to hide it. install at least four lights to make grilling at night possible.
Step 12: Backfill the Area Behind It
backfill this area with dirt to cover the dry well and drain pipes, and either cover with pavers or use cement. we are still in the process of doing this, so theree are no pictures currently. soon i will update this with our progress.
Step 13: Finished Pictures
i added these new pictures to the instructable a few months afterwards. we have since poured new concrete around the barbecue, and have used it a lot. especially in the heat wave that we've been having lately here in SoCal. its worked out great for us. all we need now is some patio furniture and barstools to put on the patio behind the barbecue. if i did this project again, i would have made the upper countertop a foot or so higher. it seemed like it would be high enough, but it actually is pretty short for bar area. also, do not use 1/2" ply to hold back large areas of concrete, because they tend to bend under the pressure. this happened behind the actual barbecue slot, and the concrete there is bowed.